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Cheesy Quinoa Pilaf with Spinach

by thegranolatree - April 4th, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa Pilaf with Spinach Recipe

This creamy pilaf incorporates the fluffy, nutty-flavored grain, quinoa, with a decadent and delicious goat cheese gouda. This has an amazing flavor and texture. Try serving with steamed salmon. I think this would work well with pine nuts as well as a variety of other cheeses. Try regular goat, Parmesan, blue, etc.


  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup grated goat gouda cheese


  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, and cook until the quinoa is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a mesh strainer, and rinse until cold; set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stir in the sunflower seeds, and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic softens and the aroma mellows, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cooled quinoa and spinach; cook and stir until the quinoa is hot, and the spinach has wilted. Stir in the lemon juice, and all but a pinch of the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

by thegranolatree - April 4th, 2012

Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 bunches green onions, diced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 TBS chopped mint


  1. In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, mint and parsley. Stir in cooled quinoa.

Oat Shortbread Cookies

by thegranolatree - March 25th, 2012
Oatmeal Shortbread
1  cup all-purpose flour
3  tablespoons sugar
1/2  cup butter
1/3  cup rolled oats

In a medium mixing bowl combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Stir in rolled oats. Form mixture into a ball and knead until smooth.
To make shortbread wedges
On an ungreased cookie sheet pat or roll the dough into an 8-inch circle. Make a scalloped edge. Cut circle into 16 wedges. Leave wedges in the circle. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until bottom just starts to brown and center is set. Cut circle into wedges again while warm. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes 16 wedges.
To make shortbread rounds
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a 1-1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut 24 rounds. Place them 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in the 325 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 24 rounds.
To make shortbread strips
On a lightly floured surface roll dough into an 8×6-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Using a knife, cut into twenty-four 2×1-inch strips. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 24 strips.

Peanut Butter Shortbread Rounds

by thegranolatree - March 25th, 2012

Recipe from The Canadian Baker 

As I sit here, snow is falling outside my window. The weather has not changed a bit since last week. To warm myself up, I combined two things I love and made one scrumptious cookie.

Peanut Butter Shortbread Rounds are the ultimate shortbread cookie. They are soft, tender and melt-in-your-mouth heaven. Really, you don’t have to chew if you don’t want to. When you touch the cookies, you can feel the butter. By baking them at a lower temperature, they bake for longer and do not brown like regular cookies. Using natural peanut butter for this recipe is best since you get unadulterated peanutty flavour but I suppose you could use regular PB but I can’t vouch for how they’ll taste.

These gems are not time consuming to pull together so just give yourself time for rolling, chilling and baking and you’ll be fine. They may look unassuming but they have lots of flavour. If you want to make them more interesting, roll the cookies thinner (1/8 inch) and sandwich them together with jam or melted chocolate. If you do that, then why not drizzle some chocolate over top? They would look fabulous and be even more perfect for sharing with the ones you love.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

To Make Dough:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed for one minute to soften it. Gradually add the sugars and beat until well blended, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the peanut butter, salt and vanilla extract and mix at medium-low speed until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. At low speed, add the flour and mix until just blended. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half, and shape into 2 discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days.)

Cut and Bake the Cookies
Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place one of the chilled dough discs on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible from the dough. Arrange on one of the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them 3/4 inch apart. Gather up the scraps, rewrap them, and chill for about 15 minutes before rerolling and cutting more cookies.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 24 to 28 minutes, until they are just firm but not browned. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer them carefully to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat the rolling, cutting and baking procedure with the remaining dough. Makes about 40 cookies.

Black Bean and Oatmeal Burgers

by thegranolatree - March 25th, 2012
Though I’m not a vegetarian, I do enjoy a lot of meatless dishes, including vegetarian “burgers”. I do NOT like the frozen, pre-packaged ones available at the store, though. Considering how easy and quickly homemade meatless burgers can be made, I can’t imagine paying so much for what is STILL a processed food (seriously, look at the ingredients for Boca & MorningStar). I love black bean burgers since they still have such a meaty flavor, but without any meat at all! 

This recipe is not only delicious, healthy (low GI!!) and filling, but very budget friendly. If you have a food processor, you can have the burgers on the table in minutes.

I like to serve these on wheat sandwich thins, topped with avocado, sprouts, or a simple slice of tomato. 

1 15oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes w/ green chilies (Rotel)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Process the beans, tomatoes, garlic, onion powder, scallions, carrots and cilantro in a food processor until well-blended. Fold in oats and stir to combine. Form into patties and place on a baking sheet.
Bake patties for 10 minutes, then turn on the broiler and toast for 2 minutes.

Upcycle those old t-shirts into market bags

by thegranolatree - March 25th, 2012

Do you have old t-shirts that you don’t wear but can’t bring yourself to throw away? Here’s a great idea, upscale them into shopping bags. T-shirts make great shopping bags, they are stretchy and will hold a great deal.

Keep for yourself to use at the grocery store or farmer’s market or give away, they make great gifts.

Step one – Cut out the sleeve

Step two – Cut out the neck binding, do not throw this away. You can also use the hemmed edge of the sleeve.

Step three – Fold the neck binding in half and pin to the outside corner of the bottom of the t-shirt. This will make the tab that allows you to roll your market bag up and put in your purse.

Step four – Stay stitch along the arm holes for reinforcement as well as around the neck opening. For a neater looking project you can use a ziz zag stitch or turn under.

Step five – Turn your t-shirt inside out and sew across the bottom. Now you have your basic bag.
Turn right side out. Now you can fold the bag into thirds, roll up and tie with the tab you created from the neck binding.
You’re ready to go shopping!

Benefits of Coconut

by thegranolatree - March 25th, 2012

The Tree of Life

The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means “nut-bearing.”

The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a

staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers.

Coconut In Traditional Medicine

People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions, and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. Wherever the coconut palm grows the people have learned of its importance as a effective medicine. For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine.

In traditional medicine around the world coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including the following: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds.

Coconut In Modern Medicine

Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarized below:

  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
  • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
  • Improves digestion and bowel function.
  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
  • Reduces epileptic seizures.
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • Dissolves kidney stones.
  • Helps prevent liver disease.
  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
  • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Helps control dandruff.
  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
  • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
  • Is completely non-toxic to humans.
For more info visit

For a wonderful granola made with honey, coconut and oats visit

Or for something with a little more zing try our Raspberry Coconut Granola

Is Peanut Butter Healthy

by thegranolatree - March 25th, 2012
Is peanut butter healthy? The answer is yes!  

Nuts as a source of protein

by thegranolatree - March 25th, 2012
The following is based on a 1 ounce portion;
                                            Protein                             Calories                     Fiber
Peanuts                                6.71 grams                       166                           2.3 grams
Pistachios                             6.05 grams                       162                           2.9 grams
Almonds                              6.02 grams                       163                           3.5 grams
Cashews                              5.17 grams                       157                           0.94 grams
Walnut                                 4.32 grams                       185                           1.9 grams
Hazelnut                               4.24 grams                       178                           2.7 grams
Brazel Nuts                          4.06 grams                       186                           2.1 grams
Pine Nut                               3.88 grams                       191                           1.0 grams
Pecans                                 2.60 grams                       196                           2.7 grams
Macadamia                          2.24 grams                       204                           2.4 grams
As you can see peanuts, pistachios and almonds are your best source for protein. Did you know that 1 ounce of peanuts has a higher protein content than 1 ounce of quinoa. 1 ounce of quinoa has only 4 grams of protein.
For a high protein lunch or dinner salad try combining the two. Go to our recipe section and look for Quinoa and Peanut Salad.

Bread Pudding with Maple Peanut Sauce

by thegranolatree - March 25th, 2012
  Try the bread pudding with a cinnamon raisin peanut butter from The Granola Tree.

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups cubed brioche or challah bread (cut into 3/4 inch cubes)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup crushed peanuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 4-ounce ramekins. Mix 1/3 cup peanut butter, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla and salt. Toss bread cubes in mixture until thoroughly coated. Divide evenly among prepared dishes. Bake until custard is set in the middle and the top is golden, about 35-40 minutes. Note: If tops of bread brown too quickly, cover ramekins loosely with aluminum foil. While pudding is baking, blend 1/3 cup peanut butter with maple syrup; transfer to small saucepan and heat on low until thoroughly warmed. To serve, drizzle ramekins with maple-peanut sauce and garnish with chopped peanuts and powdered sugar.